Lived expertise

No one understands the intricacies of the child welfare system better than those directly impacted by it. Individuals with direct experience of the child welfare system — parents, kinship caregivers, foster caregivers, and alumni of foster care — are well positioned to offer unique insights into what works, based on their personal experiences and expertise. Their perspectives, recommendations, and collaboration are integral to designing a child welfare system that keeps children safely at home whenever possible, and a child and family well-being system that ensures all families have access to equitable supports in the communities where they live.

Those who have been impacted most by the system — youth, families, and resource caregivers — should be involved at all levels of the system as: the experts of what they or their family need at the individual case level; peer mentors who offer support and guidance to others navigating the system; and expert consultants and partners in co-design, leadership, and decision-making that advance system improvement and transformation.

FEATURED RESOURCES

Happy kids in the park

How can agencies and organizations prepare for authentic youth engagement?

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Portrait of a group of young children standing in a line in the hallway of a school

How are parents impacted by the child welfare system leading the way in parent advocacy?

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Shot of an adorable little boy affectionately kissing his mother at home

What are the four pillars of authentic engagement with communities and individuals with lived experience through co-design?

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Please explore the related resources below and at Questions from the Field to learn more about lived expertise.